Thursday, July 31, 2008

Family ShinDig

I have to confess that I get a little nervous about every family event that I plan and this weekend is no exception - you just never know how things are going to turn out. Mostly they go smoothly, but that doesn't mean I don't worry.

Technically this is my 5th big family event to plan. The first was my wedding. This involved 28 (I think) people from my family and about 10 people from our wedding party staying in 5 cabins in
Cedars of Lebanon State Park.

The second was a summer getaway to Gatlinburg with 12 people, a bird and a dog in one cabin.

The third was Christmas in Gatlinburg with 19 people and one on the way, all in one cabin. This was probably my favorite experience - especially getting to decorate the tree and bake cookies with all of the little girls (who are getting to be more grown up everyday).

Last year was my first official time planning the Lock Family Reunion. After much research, we settled on
Lake Cumberland Resort in Kentucky as the "halfway point" for the Canadian and American residents of our family. It is not a true halfway point as one of my cousins lives really far north, but it was as close as I could come for a middle point for my mom and her four siblings. This long weekend in August included 35 people in 3 cabins.

This year we are again going to Kentucky. This time with 18 people in 2 cabins - our family is getting big and with gas prices and time shortages, it is getting harder and harder to get our growing family of almost 40 to come all together at once.

Anyways, I hope and pray that this weekend goes well. I am sad that not everyone will be able to join us this year, but that is life... we are not always able to make the trek to Canada, so this is something that I fully understand.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Letter to the Editor regarding design...

This letter that we received for the monthly magazine that I lay out made me laugh. I just wanted to get feedback from my friends that are designers...

Portion from actual letter:

I am color blind in the orange/red part of the spectrum. As a result, I couldn’t read several pages of the August 2008 issue. Are you trying to make ID hard to read?

By the way, the highest contrast is not black on white, but black on yellow. And it would be nice if the body type was one size larger.

I think people who do magazine layouts forget that design should make the publication easy to read. It’s not to show off how creative they are.

So what do you guys think... is black on yellow the best form of contrast? Hah. I think the best part is comment that magazines are not to show off how creative you are... they are solely for the purpose of reading... I will have to remember that the next time I flip through a magazine and choose to read articles based on how well the images work together and grab my attention.


ExtremeMakeover, Home Edition is in Charlotte this week. I know that Ty Pennington can be annoying, but this show has become one of my favorites. Mostly because of the stories of the families - what they have gone through or going through now. I think we all have stories to share and this show has done a beautiful job of showing human beings coming together for something that is far beyond themselves. You can click on the link above to read more about this family in Charlotte.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

New Patio Set

This is slightly old news, but here is a picture of our new patio set that we bought for our deck. Now we can enjoy our meals outside in comfort. However, I don't think that we will completely retire from sitting in our red rocking chairs on the front porch. There is something nice about being able to watch everything that is going on in the neighborhood. But I really love the new patio set.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


This spring, while teaching, there were many times I was mistaken for a student instead of the teacher. Yesterday while waiting to catch a bus from downtown Charlotte to home, a woman asked me if I attended Johnson&Wales. And then last night I was carded and the person carding me was surprised that I am almost 28 and asked me if I felt old.

I think the main reason that people may perceive me as being younger than I am has to do with how I dress - blue jeans, flip flops and hair in a pony tail on most occasions.

Is there some specific period of time that you are supposed to start dressing a certain way? To look your age? I don't really feel "my age" - whatever that means.

24 Hours of Booty

Theron Pickens, one of the principles at LandDesign where Daniel works, had to wear a tutu because he bet that his team wouldn't raise $30,000 for the 24 Hours of Booty.

24 Hours of Booty is (the original) annual charity event in Charlotte to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Click
here for the full story of the event in the Charlotte Observer.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Poison Ivy

It would seem that Daniel has a case of poison ivy and it is most likely my fault.

Last Friday, I was picking up fallen sticks (and branches) in our yard and I found a pretty big one that needed to be cut up. I dragged it to the curb and later asked Daniel to do the manual labor of cutting it up.

For some time we have assumed that I must not be allergic to the stuff since Daniel and I will tramp through the very same places and he will end up with the itchy stuff while I will go unscathed.

So when he told me he thought he had poison ivy and I thought about the that branch I had dragged to the curb, there is a good chance that is what led to his outbreak. Poor Daniel. He is not very happy that I didn't disclose the possible poison ivy information.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

People I Know...

It is so bizarre to me that so many people that I know, know each other. Like the people that I went to high school with, that went to a different college from me, yet seem to know my college friends. Or the people that I met in college that know my extended family. Or random people I meet that know someone that I know.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Long, Short Week

This week was a long week since I crammed 51 hours into four days. It is a short week because my boss gave me and my co-workers today off.

It was a pretty crazy week, but it definitely could have been worse (some of my co-workers worked more than 60 hours in four days, so I shouldn't complain too much). Also, we were all in it together, which made it more bearable.

For me, the culmination of the week was Wednesday night, when there were six of us in the building until midnight and four of us until 3am. One guy was there later than that.

So, what were we doing that caused the late night craziness?

Well, at the beginning of the week, we were cranking out package design for a sales pitch to Lowes (Wednesday meeting) and WalMart (Thursday meeting). As my boss says, we crammed 6 weeks of work into about 10 days - the whole shebang included naming the products, creating logos and developing package design.

The name of the game was to
crap it out in order to meet the deadlines - we will perfect designs later. Note that I definitely had the lightest workload compared to my co-workers.

The second part of the week's craziness involved creating a brand/theme for a new bar/restaurant that is going to open in Third Ward. The name of the bar is LOCAL. We created four distinct brands to pitch to the client. This involved creating mood boards for the feel of the restaurant, logo, signage, direction for artwork that would support the themes, t-shirt designs, coasters, napkins, etc. etc. etc.

Needless to say, Wednesday became a very long day. I was at the Enventys building for close to 19 hours without leaving.

Yesterday's pitch to the client went well and our boss rewarded our hard work by giving us Friday off.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Cost of Food

I am normally a WalMart shopper - mostly because it is cheap and it is a one-stop-shop. Yesterday, due to lack of time and being in a part of town that was not near a WalMart, I opted to go to Trader Joe's instead. I bought 2 full bags of groceries at Trader Joes for a whopping $25 and was feeling pretty pleased with myself. I still had some things on my list so I ran to a nearby Harris Teeter to finish the shopping. At Harris Teeter, I also purchased another 2 bags of groceries... this time it cost me over $40. So much for feeling good about my cheap trip to Trader Joes.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It's Raining!

I am so excited about the rain. Rain is one of my favorite things and we have had way too little of it over the past year and a half. This rain was an all-out, hit save repeatedly on your computer, kind of thunderstorm. I love hearing a hard rain pound on the roof at work, interspersed with loud claps of thunder. If it had not been lightening so much when I left work, I might have taken my time getting to the car and enjoyed the soaking downpour... I will have to save that for another time.

This past weekend, we had a really good visit to Arkansas. The drive makes it hard - 12+ hours in a car is not the most pleasant experience. The only thing that could have made the trip better would have been for Mark to be there.

While there, we did an early celebration of my dad's 60th birthday. Angela and I also took the opportunity to take mom out for pedicures as a belated birthday present to her. It was nice just visiting and hanging out. Of course we also managed to play some scrabble and dominoes - Robert and Daniel were good sports in playing with the family (at least we didn't make them play pinochle).

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Can you hear me now?

Several years ago, Daniel and I had a phone plan through Cingular. Then the company merged and we ended up with AT&T. Around 3 years ago, AT&T and SunCom decided to do a business deal and swapped a percentage of their customers... we ended up getting swapped... we did not really have a choice.

All along, we have had a really great rate with free nights that started at 7:00 p.m. This has been particularly useful since most of our family and friends are in the Central time zone and we are on Eastern. We have also had free nationwide - a must since we drive so far, so often.

Up until now, SunCom has basically served us well. We have definitely had some irritating moments - mostly to do with the AT&T and SunCom swap, but overall, mostly decent service. One other problem has been the fact that service in our house can be spotty - which can sometimes be a pain since we have not had a land line in several years.

Back in May, I was traveling to visit my family in Arkansas. Angela picked me up in Memphis and AS SOON as we got into Arkansas, I had NO RECEPTION. I am not just talking about in the boondocks, I mean everywhere. I mean in Searcy (the home of Harding University where thousands of students from all 50 states and many countries live and go to school). Of all places, I would expect Searcy to have coverage.

Daniel called SunCom asking, after years of nationwide that covered Searcy, why (all of a sudden) we would no longer have coverage. They did not have a good answer. Really they had no answer. So for us, if SunCom will not cover the places we go (nationwide), then we can no longer continue to use them.

After some discussion, we decided that it was more important to have consistent (true) nationwide coverage as opposed to hanging onto SunCom and the free-after-7:00 nights. So as of Monday we are with Verizon (Angela and Mark - you can now stop bugging me about our outdated phones). It would seem that we have much better coverage in our house and hopefully this weekend's trip to Arkansas will prove they have much better coverage than SunCom... can you hear me now?

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...